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Public health, population, and contested development politics in Cold War Latin America

Mon, May 27, 10:45am to 12:15pm, TBA

Session Submission Type: Panel


The proposed session addresses important questions in Cold War development politics in Latin America: How were Latin American experts incorporated into the new international development institutions of the early Cold War, such as PAHO, the WHO, UNICEF, and the FAO? How did the norms, practices, and strategies of these institutions impact national-level policies in areas such as public health, population policy, nutrition, and agricultural development? To what extent did international institutions "depoliticize" questions of national social development and reconfigure relations in national politics to the advantage of a new generation of technocrats? These questions are inspired by previous examinations of international development institutions in disease eradication (Cueto, "Cold War, Deadly Fevers"), civil engineering and agronomy (Buckley, "Technocrats and the Politics of Drought and Development"), nutritional planning (Escobar, "Encountering Development") and family planning (Necochea, "A History of Family Planning in Twentieth Century Peru"). This panel expands the conversation by bringing together research in several issue domains (social medicine, public health, nutrition, agricultural development, and population policy); examining the expert networks that reached across these domains; exploring frictions between existing tendencies in national politics (ideological configurations, institutional architectures) and the reordering work of international institutions; considering lesser known institutional actors beyond the big UN-associated institutions; and incorporating case study material from various countries (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Argentina).

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